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5 Signs Your Toddler Isn’t Ready for a Big Kid Bed

As your child grows from baby to toddler, you may feel pressured or tempted to make the transition into the big bed. Cribs are for little babies, right?! Not so fast, mama. The decision to move your child into a toddler bed is a big one: time it right, all is good. Get the timing wrong and all hell can break loose. While some amount of luck will play into whether or not you’re successful, here are a few red flags that could signal that you might want to wait a bit longer to make the move.

 

1. Your toddler is younger than 3 years old.

Say whaaaaaat!? Three!? Yes! While you may know others who have made the move earlier, I urge you to hold off. Most children aren’t developmentally ready before this time: to them, the four walls of their cribs are familiar friends, as well as much-needed physical boundaries that make them feel secure. Take away the boundaries too soon and risk a major rebellion that could spell disaster for even the best sleepers.

 

2. Your toddler has existing sleep issues.

If your child cannot sleep through the night, struggles at bedtime or wakes up too early, transitioning to a big kid bed will likely make the situation worse. Before taking the plunge, I strongly suggest that you first work on the existing issues by tweaking the sleep schedule, setting and enforcing sleep rules, if necessary, sleep training.

 

3. Your toddler seems content in her crib.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but so many parents introduce the big kid bed because they feel like they’re supposed to after a certain age. Don’t buy into it! Even if your toddler has already hit the magical age of 3, there’s no reason to jump the gun. If she’s still under the weight and height limit for your crib, there’s no need to make the big move yet. Rule of thumb: Wait until she asks (begs!) for a big bed.

 

4. Your toddler is a climber.

No one wants her child to climb out of the crib and roam around freely but, trust me, you don’t want to trade in one problem for an even bigger one. Instead of immediately ditching the crib, try to troubleshoot the underlying problem: climbing. Toddlers love to test out their newfound motor skills, even when doing so scares the bajeezus out of us. Potential solutions for the problem: reintroduce the sleep sack* (which makes it difficult to find traction on the railings) or use a sticker reward chart for staying in bed. If all else fails, try the silent return: each and every time she climbs out, lead her silently back to bed. Pretty soon, she won’t bother getting out because she gets no reaction from you.

*if your little one has mastered the art of unzipping her sleep sack, try putting it on backwards so the zipper can’t be accessed.

 

5. Your toddler likes to push boundaries.

If your toddler isn’t the best at respecting boundaries during the day, then she likely will struggle to respect them at night (read: stay in bed). Work on boundary-setting during day and at bedtime. Introduce a toddler clock so that she begins to understand that she has to stay in her bed between certain hours. Once you’ve seen some progress on this front, reconsider the big bed. For parents who are considering an early transition because you have a baby on the way, think twice! If you don’t feel that your child is ready yet for such a big move, it’s worth keeping her in her crib--even if that means having two cribs for a while. The last thing you want is a newborn who won’t sleep and a toddler who slips out of her bed into yours all night long.

For parents who have already transitioned your child and it isn’t going well, it’s never too late to re-introduce the crib. If you’ve already ditched it (or a younger sibling is using it), a travel crib will do. Sometimes our kids just need the security of the four walls.

 

Lastly, if you’ve thought through the potential red flags and none apply to you, go for it! Make the move! Here are my top tips to make the transition as easy as possible.

Photography by Desiree Walters for Well Rounded.

 

Hadley Seward is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Bonne Nuit Baby. Based in France and New York City, she works with exhausted parents around the world to get their kids’ sleep back on track. Meet her here + follow her adventures at @hadleyinfrance.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

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$70

Allover roller

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$65

Kombucha making kit

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What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

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This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

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Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

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If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

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$35

Glow assorted teas

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This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

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$22

Premium frother

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Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

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Superfood honey

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With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

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$23

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Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

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boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

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Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

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Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

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Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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